America’s Next Bill Clinton!


Feminism is my religion

In my circle of intellectual friends, be it at a cocktail lounge or progressive coffee shop, the question of, “What is your religion?” always seems to come up – and rightfully so. Understanding a person’s religion allows us a glimpse into their personal lives and values and convictions.

Often times, my answer – although I am a Unitarian Universalist, is that “love is my religion” – in short, that I believe in fairness, justice and equality. It’s a short way to explain what is sure to be quite a complex (yet simple) religion.

Lately, though, I’ve also told people I am a feminist because feminism also incorporates that values of UU-ism into its beliefs. I do wonder, though, which came first – am I a UU because I am a feminist, or am I a feminist because I am a UU?

This much I know: feminism, for me, is a religion. It is my religion not only because my political ideals are shaped by it, but also because I am required to, as a matter of the personal vs. the political, “act like a feminist,” and behave in ways that are feministic, and not a misrepresentation of feminism.

Just as Christians are judged based on the behaviors of a few bad apples, feminists can also be judged in such a way. Because of that, I feel the obligation to, at all times, act as “holy” as possible in a feministic ways. Although, because our beliefs are feminists might vary, it’s also a struggle to correctly represent all of feminism so that people do not misunderstand us, or fail to understand that ours is a just and right cause.

At least Christians have the Bible – and a code of ethics by which they must follow. What do we  have as feminists? Nothing. It seems aside from a big circle of support for one another, we rarely have anything to turn to as we navigate and wade through the complexities of what it means to be a feminist in our personal lives.

Is it wrong to buy clothes without knowing if they were made in a sweatshop? What about ownership of an animal (as been discussed over at feministing.com)? If and when we choose to get married, is it okay to have a traditional wedding, and let ourselves dream away of the perfect day?

As for gender roles, how much do we reject, and how much do we embrace, as to still be a part of a normal society? Is violence acceptable as a means to further our cause? Can “rough sex” be feministic? What if we enjoy music with misogynistic lyrics? As feminists, are we supposed to be vegetarians? What of preaching as feminists? Do we go door to door, or do we just live our lives and set good examples? Can a feminist, much like a Christian, be feminist in name only? How do we find out the answers to all these questions? To whom do we turn for answers? How do we know it’s the right answer? How can we deal live normal lives without compromising our values as feminists? How do we go on being feminists without, in the eyes of many, being annoying?

Sometimes, I wish there were a feminist Bible. Our lives would be much easier. But by no means am I bitching – nor do I have the right to. While it’s a challenge to have to question each and everyone of my own actions, I know that I am doing so from a privileged standpoint. There are millions of women who are living through the plight of being oppressed everyday.

But this, I believe, can start a good discussion on how we ought to act as feminists. The personal, after all, is political.

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